Friday, September 8

Is America Ready for Self-Governance?

ITEM: Hard-hitting. Factual. Oooh, look, video!

Last evening my local teevee news led off with a delicious CBS pot-au-feu of the Al Jazeera bin Laden tape, the audiotape of the supposed new leader of the supposed al-Qaeda in Iraq, and the supposed President of the United States saying something or other about Terrism, in that order but edited as a single story.

We could, of course, make that confluence our story--60% of Americans may well still believe that Saddam Hussein planned 9/11, but you'd imagine, or maybe hope is the word, that the informed clotheshorses who report the news would know better--or we might note how nice it is to see bin Laden mentioned in the news once again, and, along with Iraq, become the lead story instead of a footnote, and mention what a coincidence it is that there's an election coming up sometime this fall.

Instead, what struck me was how this was reported as urgent news. "Shocking new video of bin Laden!" was the teaser, like Incredible new footage of the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping ladder, coming up at Six! The suicide videos also rated a mention, despite the fact that they were first seen long ago and were merely part of the package Al Jazeera broadcast. We then moved on to the headshot of the new al-Q in Iraq honcho (it's thoughtful of our evil terrorist mastermind enemies to get updated publicity stills as they climb the corporate ladder), who is heard ululating in the background as the translation of his speech runs next to the pic. But didn't al-Qaeda in Iraq already have a new leader?

Then came the segue to Bush, introduced with, "And while all this was going on..." All this? All what? All the editing involved in putting the story together? A five-year-old video and a tape of unknown if not dubious origin? That's "All This"? Sheesh, I'm thinking a lot of people in Baghdad were wishing those were the major stories of their day.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan is turning into Iraq, but rates no coverage at all. Time for a new PR firm.

ITEM: The Big Weekend Wrap-Up of the Fourth Anniversary of the Two-Week Lead-In to the Anniversary of 9/11

Desperate Republicans! The Amazing Performing Lapdog Teevee Network! Congress Acting Like It Does Things!

Okay, we spent some time, and by "we" I mean the few honest and rational observers left with a public forum not involving the Internets, asking how it was we came to lose the massive international good will after 9/11. So how is it that no one asks how we squandered the domestic good will? It's gone from being a solemn day of national remembrance to something like Circus of the Stars V: This Time We Starved the Big Cats First. There are a lot of things I don't understand, but right up there is the way modern "conservatives" seem unable to separate genuine values and cheap money-making opportunities, even when it counts the most. They should be the ones screaming the loudest about the ABC mockumentary. That they aren't tells you all you need to know, as if you didn't already know it.

ITEM: Scholastic Replaces 'The Path to 9/11' Classroom Guide With New Discussion Materials Focusing on Critical Thinking and Media Literacy Skills.

"After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues," said Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic.

Pardon my critical thinking and media literacy skills there, Dick, but shouldn't those high standards have kicked in sometime before you offered the damn thing to the public? Isn't the proper response now the public exposure and firing of the persons responsible, assuming they aren't named Dick Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO of Scholastic? And can't you work "Hero of the Glorious Revolution of 1994" into that title?


D. Sidhe said...

A-fucking-men on all counts.

I'd like to tell you that you have to stop watching this crap as it clearly does someone with your critical thinking skills no real good and serves only to aggravate the hell out of you. But on the other hand, then *I* would have to watch it myself, and really I'd rather not.

Anonymous said...

Like D. Sidhe says; Doghouse, props for falling on the media grenades to save us from getting hit. Here's hoping you'll come out of the war with some neurons still functioning.


Cynthia said...

DR, your last paragraph is so great, I have no superlatives to describe it.

Vicki said...

Not only do I love your writing, Doghouse, I also love the writing of your commenters. As d. sidhe and Bruce both said far more eloquently, thank you for watching the hairdos so we don't have to. Most of all, thanks for making me laugh during this dark time in our nation's history.

Porlock Junior said...

I figure that the day after the Prodigal Son returned, and his pappy killed the fatted calf and invited everyone to come and rejoice, the Prodigal was back feeding pigs again, only this time on the family's farm where he belonged and was loved. Feeding pigs was what he was good for.

In the same vein, the bozos at Scholastic need jobs feeding pigs, but let's celebrate their doing something good on the way out. (Of course they're not on the way out in this corrupt world; I'm just talking about the principle.) Though "critical thinking" is a slogan that has quickly become vapid and meaningless, we do need to give kids instruction in it. And it's so pathetically easy to start doing it these days. Every kid (i.e., everyone in a white middle-slass school) has immediate access to the greatest source of information and disinformation in history. Send them off to investigate an issue on the Internet and assess the sources they find. Duh.

Wouldn't it be grand if Scholastic, needing to make a gesture toward integrity, picked on this sort of idea and made it happen?

R.Porrofatto said...

Bravo, and merci, aussi.

A flip-test can be instructive, pointless, or just amusing, but in the case of this docu-crap can you imagine the zero-to-insanity velocity of the Malkinites had the thing been both anti-Bush and written by an Iranian fer chrissakes?

I'd bet that, probably like Disney, the overlings of Scholastic didn't have a clue what they were into until the shitstorm. Robinson, for what it's worth, is a Dean supporter no less, and I'm surprised our wingnuts haven't already leeched that little fact to death.